"L.A. Confidential," Curtis Hanson's noir-ish saga of police corruption in 1950s Los Angeles, garnered its third best-picture award when it received the citation from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
In all, the movie won four awards and was named runner-up in two other categories during voting Saturday afternoon.
The L.A. critics followed the lead of their colleagues on the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle, who had previously bestowed top honors on the film. Los Angeles' critics contingent also gave "L.A. Confidential" citations for best director (Curtis Hanson), best screenplay (Hanson and Brian Helgeland) and best cinematography (Dante Spinotti).
Bridesmaid of the day was Atom Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter," the tale of a small community's struggle to regroup in the aftermath of a tragedy. It was named runner-up in the best picture, best director and best cinematography categories, but won no award outright.
Robert Duvall was named best actor for his role as a sociopathic yet charismatic evangelist in "The Apostle," and Helena Bonham Carter won the best actress award for her performance as a duplicitous young woman scheming among Victorian England's privileged in "The Wings of the Dove."
Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, both in the romantic comedy "As Good as It Gets," were runners-up in those categories.
"Boogie Nights" cast members took both supporting acting awards. Julianne Moore's performance as a troubled yet motherly porn star won her the citation for best supporting actress, while Burt Reynolds, who played an idealistic porn director, was named best supporting actor. Gloria Stuart of "Titanic" and Kevin Spacey of "L.A. Confidential," respectively, were named runners-up. "Boogie Nights" writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson won the New Generation Award, a special citation for a cinematic newcomer.
Hollywood's batch of prestigious year-end films was virtually shut out in the voting. James Cameron's mega-epic "Titanic" picked up an award for Peter Lamont's production design, was runner-up in two other categories and was a serious contender in the best picture sweepstakes. Martin Scorsese's "Kundun" won only for composer Philip Glass' haunting score. Steven Spielberg's "Amistad," Kevin Costner's "The Postman" and Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" all went home empty-handed.
The critics gave their animation award to two highly disparate productions: "The Spirit of Christmas," a profane, low-budget comedy short by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that was the inspiration for their hit TV series "South Park," and "Hercules," Disney's summer family blockbuster, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.
Here is the complete list of winners:
Best picture: "L.A. Confidential," produced by Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson and Michael Nathanson. Runner-up: "The Sweet Hereafter," produced by Camelia Frieberg and Atom Egoyan.
Best actor: Robert Duvall, "The Apostle." Runner-up: Jack Nicholson, "As Good as It Gets."
Best actress: Helena Bonham Carter, "The Wings of the Dove." Runner-up: Helen Hunt, "As Good as It Gets."
Best supporting actor: Burt Reynolds, "Boogie Nights." Runner-up: Kevin Spacey, "L.A. Confidential."
Best supporting actress: Julianne Moore, "Boogie Nights." Runner-up: Gloria Stuart, "Titanic."
Best director: Curtis Hanson, "L.A. Confidential." Runner-up: Atom Egoyan, 'The Sweet Hereafter."
Best screenplay: Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland, "L.A. Confidential." Runner-up: Kevin Smith, "Chasing Amy."
Foreign-language film: "La Promesse," directed by Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Belgium). Runner-up: "Shall We Dance?" directed by Masayuki Suo (Japan).
Cinematography: Dante Spinotti, "L.A. Confidential." Runner-up: Paul Sarossy, "The Sweet Hereafter."
Music: "Kundun," Philip Glass. Runner-up: "Titanic," James Horner.
Production design: "Titanic," Peter Lamont. Runner-up: "L.A. Confidential," Jeanine Oppewall.
New Generation: Paul Thomas Anderson.
Animation: "The Spirit of Christmas," directed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and "Hercules," directed by John Musker and Ron Clements.
Documentary: "Riding the Rails," a look at Depression-era youth who traveled the country by train in search of work, directed by Michael Uys and Lexy Lowell. Runner-up: "Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist," directed by Kirby Dick.
Experimental/independent film: "Finished," about a gay porn star's politically motivated suicide, directed by William E. Jones.
Special citation: Peter Bogdanovich, "for his contribution to American film history since 1960 with his groundbreaking interviews of directors, collected in his 1997 book "Who the Devil Made It?"
The L.A. critics association had previously announced a lifetime achievement award for director Joseph Lewis. The awards will be distributed at a luncheon Jan. 14 at the Bel Age Hotel.